Home Family Practice Occupational Tx of Little Benefit in Slowing Alzheimer’s Decline

Occupational Tx of Little Benefit in Slowing Alzheimer’s Decline

Patients, caregivers may reap some benefits, but study suggests no effect on everyday functioning

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Home-based occupational therapy may not slow down the physical decline that comes with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Christopher Callahan, M.D., founding director of Indiana University’s Center for Aging Research in Indianapolis, and colleagues recruited 180 Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. All were given collaborative care, whereby an advanced practice nurse coordinated each patient’s overall care. Families were randomly assigned to receive occupational therapy in addition to collaborative care.

After two years, the researchers found, there was no evidence that the extra therapy had slowed patients’ functional decline.

“We could not definitively demonstrate whether the addition of two years of in-home occupational therapy to a collaborative care management model slowed the rate of functional decline among persons with Alzheimer’s disease,” the authors write. “This trial underscores the burden undertaken by caregivers as they provide care for family members with Alzheimer’s disease and the difficulty in slowing functional decline.”

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